October 31, 1992
For some time, the ex and I had contemplated getting Nigel a little brother for a friend and companion. There was never any doubt that the new kitty would be a boy, and, having never had a grey cat in my life, I decided I really, really wanted a grey cat. So, knowing that we’d ultimately bring a new kitty home for Nigel (and us!) we were content to wait for the right one. The right kitty presented himself to us on Halloween Day 1992. I was in the local pet store buying some things for Nigel. I happened to look up on the “advertisement” wall and saw an ad that said something like this, “6 kittens, all male, 5 yellow, 1 grey, free to good home”. Well, to me, this seemed to be “the sign”! So, when I got home, I talked to the ex and he agreed we should go check out the grey kitty. We called the number and were told all of the kittens were still available and, yes, please come on over!
We did. And, I must say, that entire experience was like something out of a weird movie. The woman (and husband) had a nice house near where we lived. Inside, though, were so many cats roaming around that I lost count. And, ugh, the place smelled like you wouldn’t believe; there were piles of cat barf all over the place, plates of empty or half-empty cat food, cans of opened cat food, etc. Frankly, it was just plain disgusting. The ex and I exchanged glances as we were not sure if we wanted any sort of creature from this environment! But, we figured that we’d come this far, may as well check out the grey kitty. The (somewhat strange) woman told us he was out in the garage with his brothers. So, we all trooped out to the garage where we immediately saw the five yellow cats in various locations around the garage; on top of a car, up on a freezer, etc. As we waited for the woman to locate the grey kitten (he was nowhere to be seen), we wandered around the garage looking at his brothers. I must say, they all looked exactly alike and they were none-too-friendly, either. At least two of them took swipes at us with their paws as we walked past. So, again, we were not sure how this was all going to turn out, we certainly didn’t want a feral cat. The woman, who by this time had finally located the grey kitten (hiding under the car, of course!) stood up and apologized for the other cats’ behavior saying, “They aren’t too nice, they are sort of wild, but, this one” as she held him out to me, “Well, he’s really sweet. I call him my Grey Baby”. I took him in my arms and, of course, knew from that second that this little guy was going to go home with us. I remember that he looked up at me; his eyes locked on mine, and he started to purr that fantastic rumbling loud purr of his. The ex looked him over and agreed that he was a keeper. So, the woman told us she’d give him a flea dip and bath for us if we wouldn’t mind waiting. She took “Grey Baby” back and we went into the house. While we sat there watching her bathe him, her husband came into the house. He was a nasty piece of work, I’ll tell you; he grumbled something about being glad to get rid of one of those “damn” cats. I am pretty sure that this mean character was THE reason why our new kitty was so fearful for so long about anything coming near his head. The woman told us that the kittens’ mother, a stray, had them on their porch and, not too long afterward, disappeared. I guess she recognized a house that was “cat-friendly” (to a degree, anyway). Later, this explained why our new kitty had this odd habit for awhile of sucking on the back of my hand (weaned FAR too soon); in fact, the woman said she’d had to feed several of the kittens with an eye-dropper. While cleaning “Grey Baby”, the woman was cooing to him, cuddling him; in general, looking like she didn’t want to give him up. She started fretting that it was Halloween (and perhaps we were going to take him and sacrifice him, I guess!) In any event, the ex wasn’t taking any changes; he snatched him up mid-towel rub, shoved him into my arms, said, “Thanks a lot!” to the woman and started pushing me out the door. I felt sorry for her; she looked so sad! She asked me if I would call her in a few days to let her know how her “Grey Baby” was doing and I said I would. And, I did; and when I did, I told her his new name was Clyde.